Home > Treasures A-Z > Eye on Dance

Eye on Dance

Back to List | Related TreasuresMore Resources

Eye on Dance, Jimmy Slyde and Barry HarrisAbout

Eye on Dance, a weekly, half-hour public television interview show launched in 1981, was the first and only program of its kind to offer lively, topical, and informative discussions about historical and contemporary dance spanning a range of styles and forms from classical ballet and postmodern dance to jazz and social dance. The brainchild of Celia Ipiotis, former ballet and modern dancer—who also hosted the show—and videographer and media professor Jeff Bush, Eye on Dance typically paired one or more prominent dancers or choreographers with either an historian or critic. The show was intended to increase dance literacy and explore the cultural and historical context of dance through direct access to the artist’s voice. It was among the first media venues to address the AIDS crisis, and themes explored by Eye on Dance episodes included issues of gender and ethnicity, as well as topics such as creative process, improvisation, and videodance. The show, which ran until 1992, played an important part in the development and understanding of videodance, excerpts of which were often broadcast. Recordings of Eye on Dance programs make up a uniquely rich set of primary sources for the study of dance, and remain an inspiration for stimulating, creative conversations about the art form.

Pictured aboveEye on Dance host and founder Celia Ipiotis interviews Jimmy Slyde and Barry Harris in the program "Personalizing the Mighty Be-bop Style" (Eye on Dance 321), originally broadcast March 6, 1992. In this episode, tapper Jimmy Slyde and musician Barry Harris discussed be-bop music and dance. (Image courtesy of Celia Ipiotis)

Katherine Dunham rehearses the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater in an excerpt included in the program “Profile: Alvin Ailey”


Essay by Julie Malnig -- Selected resources

Pictured left: Katherine Dunham rehearses the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater in an excerpt included in the program “Profile: Alvin Ailey” (Eye on Dance 290), originally broadcast October 7, 1989. Eye on Dance’s format combined in-depth conversation with dance excerpts illustrating topics of discussion. (Image courtesy of Celia Ipiotis)

Kevin McKenzie and Clark Tippet are seen in a studio rehearsal, Image courtesy of Celia Ipiotis



Pictured right: Kevin McKenzie and Clark Tippet are seen in a studio rehearsal of Tippet’s S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A. in the program “Creative Process: Personal and Creative Growth” (Eye on Dance 258), originally broadcast May 26, 1988. In this episode, the two guests, then dancers with American Ballet Theatre who had begun to choreograph, discuss how they balance their performing and creative work. (Image courtesy of Celia Ipiotis)